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Treat time is on the rise

treats sugar rise ireland chocolate
20 Aug 2018
Research shows how parents and carers are providing children with sweets and chocolate out of habit rather than a one-off treat.

Consuming high-energy foods such as ice-cream and chocolate out of pleasure rather than hunger is a key area to address in tackling childhood obesity.   

Research published in US journal, ‘Appetite’ conducted a study to identify the reasons behind adults giving children regular treats.

The study was conducted in Ireland and looked at 1039 adults including: parents, grandparents, child-minders and education practitioners. Many in the study defined the term ‘treat’ as ‘something nice’ ‘deserved’ or ‘special’.

Rewarding good behaviour was the main motivator behind the treats with 42.3% using it to encourage children to be polite and kind. The second was because the children asked for a treat, with the third motivator used to make the child feel better. Almost all participants said they would provide treats at celebrations, with 52.5% always doing so.

The common observation between all adults was that treats were becoming part of everyday routine rather than as a one-off or special occasion. The research aims to develop strategies to reduce the number of treats and to encourage healthier alternatives.